fbpx

Best Dog Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs: 9 Belly-Friendly Eats

Dog Food Icon

Dog Food By Ben Team 20 min read July 14, 2023 42 Comments

K9 of Mine is reader-supported, which means we may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page. Here’s how it works.
dog food for sensitive stomachs

Just like some people, some dogs suffer from sensitive stomachs. Although this is rarely a life-or-death issue, these poor pooches often struggle to digest their dog food well and experience a variety of troubling gastrointestinal symptoms.

It is important to have such dogs examined by a veterinarian to ensure they are suffering from a sensitive stomach and not some other ailment.

Several serious health problems can cause similar symptoms, so you need to rule these out. But, dogs with sensitive stomachs may benefit from several dog foods designed to help them feel better.

Read below for more details on the best dog foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs, or check out our quick picks below:

Best Over Dog Food for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs
Best Prebiotic Dog Food for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs
Most Affordable Dog Food for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs
Best Over Dog Food for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs
Best Prebiotic Dog Food for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs
Most Affordable Dog Food for Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs

Why Do Dogs Suffer from Sensitive Stomachs?

A variety of things can cause your dog to suffer from a sensitive stomach, and you’ll need to perform a little bit of detective work to determine the things that cause her the most trouble. You should learn as much as you can about the things that commonly upset dogs’ stomachs, but you’ll also have to engage in a little trial-and-error.

However, it is important to realize that it may be impossible to definitively determine the root cause of your dog’s digestive difficulties. In such cases, you’ll simply need to do your best to find a dog food your dog can digest easily.

Four of the most common reasons for a dog’s stomach sensitivity include:

1. Your dog is unable to digest some of the proteins or fat in his dog food.

Dogs with sensitive stomachs may be unable to digest some protein sources or large quantities of fat, so stick to easily digested proteins – chicken and lamb are two good choices – and avoid high-fat dog foods and table scraps.

If your dog’s digestion issues are a result of your pooch eating some unusual (which isn’t fed to him regularly), his upset stomach can be quelled with a serving of rice or other simple foods.

2. Your dog is allergic to some of the proteins in his dog food

Food allergies usually cause skin- or ear-related symptoms, but they can also cause digestive upset.

Food allergies are usually treated with an elimination-challenge diet, which involves removing all common allergens from your dog’s diet until the problem is resolved and then testing her reaction when they are reintroduced individually.

3. Your dog is unable to digest the ingredients in his treats

Just like their food, dog treats can contain ingredients that upset the function of your pup’s digestive system.

Additionally, offering your dog too many treats can overwhelm her body. Avoid treats while trying to solve your dog’s sensitive stomach issues. Once you’re ready to reintroduce treats, try opting for hypoallergenic dog treats.

4. Your dog is suffering from emotional distress

Stress and anxiety (both acute and chronic) can also cause your dog’s digestive system to struggle. It may help to keep a record of your dog’s experiences, meals, and eliminations to help pin down the causal factor. It may also help to provide your dog with a cozy den of her own in which she can retreat after meals.

Best Foods for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

It can be difficult to calm down your dog’s sensitive stomach, and you may have to try a few different foods before you hit upon the perfect recipe for your pup.

However, the following dog foods are well-suited for dogs with sensitive stomachs and are high-rated by other owners who have already offered them to their dogs.

1. Ollie Dog Food

Best Overall Dog Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Ollie Fresh Dog Food
A fresh, human-grade option customized to your dog's needs u002du002d including tummy troubles
Special Discount: We've cut a deal with Ollie -- new customers can get 50% off!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

AboutOllie is a high-quality, human-grade dog food company dishing out meals that look good enough for owners to eat too! The real value of Ollie is that they’ll actually customize your pup’s food based on your dog’s activity level, age, and any known food allergies, so it’s one of the best dog foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

There are no corn, soy, wheat, preservatives, or artificial ingredients of any kind in these quality canine eats, making them a great sensitive stomach dog food choice to aid in healthy digestion!

Features:

  • Fresh, highest-quality dog food with no preservatives, artificial ingredients, corn, soy, or wheat.
  • Meats are sourced from US and Australia.
  • Fresh fruits & veggies are also included.
  • Small batch cooking, with minimal processing and low-temperature heat to preserve nutrients.
  • If your dog doesn’t like it, get your money back!

Options: Available in Turkey, Chicken, Lamb, and Beef recipes.

Pros

  • It doesn’t get much higher in quality than human-grade ingredients
  • Money-back guarantee offers peace of mind if your pooch isn’t a fan or suffers from tummy woes
  • Customized to your dog’s needs

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Requires room in your refrigerator

Ingredients List

Turkey, kale, lentils, carrots, turkey liver,...,

oats, blueberries, pumpkin, tricalcium phosphate, chia seeds, sunflower oil, salt, salmon oil, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, vitamin e supplement, manganese amino acid chelate, choline bitartrate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin (vitamin b2), Vitamin d3, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), potassium iodide.

2. Sundays for Dogs

Best Prebiotic Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Sundays Food for Dogs
Prebiotic-rich kibble that's packed with fiber, added digestive aids, and is gently air-dried to be easier on the stomach!
Buy On Sundays

About: Sundays for Dogs is a unique air-dried kibble that boasts a number of features for easier digestion, making it one of the best dog foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Formulas are designed by a team of world-leading animal nutritionists, PhDs, food scientists, and boarded veterinarian nutritionists.

Sundays for Dogs features nutrient-rich ingredients like real meats, fruits, and veggies, and the entire food is air-dried rather than cooked. The sensitive tummy kibble also contains added prebiotics, and healthy digestive aids like pumpkin and ginger, along with plenty of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

This sensitive stomach dog food prides itself on including no artificial flavors or preservatives, no chemicals, and no ingredients from China, plus no gluten, legumes, potatoes, wheat, or soy.

Features:

  • Focus on natural foods with no artificial or synthetic ingredients
  • Gut-boosting mix of prebiotics, digestion-friendly ingredients, and antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies
  • Whole meats and organ meats top the ingredient list
  • Lightly dehydrated through air-drying
  • Features a healthy grain-inclusive dog food diet with quinoa

Options: Available in a single beef recipe.

Pros

  • Owners rave about the brand’s focus on natural, whole foods lacking chemical additives of other kibbles
  • Easy-to-read, simple ingredient list
  • Contains great extras like organ meat and prebiotics

Cons

  • Isn’t as cheap as some other options (though it’s certainly more affordable than fresh dog food)
  • More protein options would be ideal

Ingredients List

USDA Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Beef Bone, Quinoa,...,

Pumpkin, Wild Salmon Oil, Sunflower Oil, Zucchini, Kale, Flaxseed, Sea Salt, Parsley, Kelp, Chicory Root, Turmeric, Mixed Tocopherols, Ginger, Selenium Yeast, Blueberries, Carrots, Apples, Tomatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms, Broccoli, Oranges, Cranberries, Spinach, Beets, Tart Cherries, Strawberries.

3. Raised Right Turkey & Pumpkin Paté

Best Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs Containing No Synthetic Vitamins
Raised Right Turkey & Pumpkin Paté
A fresh food option made with ingredients known for tummy support: turkey and fiber-rich pumpkin.
Buy on Raised Right

About: Raised Right Turkey & Pumpkin Paté is a digestion-friendly recipe made without synthetic vitamins — a perk many natural-focused pet parents adore. This fresh food option also has a taste and texture most dogs like, pleasing even the pickiest of pooches.

Features:

  • Real meat is always the primary ingredient
  • Pumpkin offers a natural source of fiber for healthier digestion
  • Healthy fats support skin and coat health
  • Made in the USA

Options: Available in 11 recipes, including Turkey & Pumpkin Paté, Original Pork, and Original Beef.

Pros

  • Fiber-rich pumpkin helps aid in healthy digestion
  • Excellent mix of protein options to choose from
  • Taste is a hit with most four-legged friends

Cons

  • Food is on the expensive side
  • Requires refrigeration

Ingredients List

Turkey Thigh, Pumpkin, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Organic Spearmint,...,

Cod Liver Oil, Egg Shell Powder, Flaxseed Oil, Organic Dried Kelp

4. Natural Balanced LID Beef

Best Beef Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Natural Balance LID Grain-Free Beef
A limited-ingredient recipe suiting dogs with food allergies or intolerances.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

About: Natural Balance LID Beef is a premium-ingredient dog food that is made without many of the problematic ingredients found in other dog foods. It’s composed of 32% protein featuring beef as the first ingredient (with a beef meal also included shortly after). With no grains, chicken ingredients, or even potatoes, it’s a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Features

  • Contains no soy, corn, chicken, or wheat; instead, the carbohydrate content primarily comes from peas and chickpeas.
  • No artificial flavors or colors included.
  • Beef is the single animal protein, making it great for dogs who don’t digest chicken or other animal proteins easily. Includes 52% beef ingredients.
  • Short ingredient list means fewer ingredients likely to upset your dog’s stomach.

Options: Available in 22 recipes and formulas, including Grain-Free Beef, Salmon & Sweet Potato, and Chicken & Brown Rice.

Pros

  • LID nature ideal for dogs with several food allergies or intolerances to watch for
  • Single-protein natural suits pups with sensitive tummies
  • Contains an impressive 52% beef ingredients

Cons

  • It’d be better if the beef meal was the second ingredient versus pea protein
  • Picky dogs may not be big fans at first

Ingredients List

Beef, Pea Protein, Beef Meal, Chickpeas, Peas...,

Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Pea Starch, Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Flaxseed, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Menhaden Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

5. Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Turkey Grain-Free

Best Dog Food for Puppies with Sensitive Stomachs
Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Turkey Grain-Free

A single animal protein formula that is perfect for pups with digestion issues.


Buy on Amazon

About: Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Turkey is a GMO-free, grain-free diet catered specifically for dogs with digestion issues. Featuring a single-animal protein source (turkey) and no eggs, corn, wheat, or soy, it’s a great sensitive stomach dog food choice for owners who want to avoid common canine allergens.

Features:

  • Turkey as a single animal protein source – fewer animal protein sources mean fewer chances that something will upset your pup’s tummy (this also makes it a great option for food allergy elimination diets).
  • 30% crude protein, plus essential nutrients for a diet suitable for both pups and adults.
  • Contains GanebenBC30 (a unique probiotic strain) that aids in gut health.
  • Low carb, with chickpeas and sweet potatoes but no potatoes or tapioca.
  • No chicken, eggs, peas, pea protein, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, or preservatives.
  • Made in the USA.

Options: Available in 5 recipes, including Turkey Grain-Free, Salmon Grain-Free, and Alaska Pollock & Lentils.

Pros

  • Two single-animal protein sources are the top ingredients
  • Grain-free recipe suits dogs with grain allergies
  • Rich in fiber for healthy digestion

Cons

  • Not a ton of reviews
  • Peas aren’t popular ingredients with every pet owner

Ingredients List

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid)...,

Lima Beans, Miscanthus Grass, Natural Flavor, Monosodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Chicory Root, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Methionine, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganous Oxide, Biotin, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Rosemary Extract.

6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited-Ingredient Dog Food

Best Dog Food for Dogs with Diarrhea
Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care
Stomach-friendly food with salmon, oatmeal, and brown rice. Free of chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, and dairy.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

About: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited-Ingredient Salmon and Potato Dog Food is formulated to provide your pup with a balanced and nutritious diet without including any unnecessary ingredients. This helps to alleviate many of the problems associated with food sensitivities or food allergies.

Features

  • Contains oatmeal, potatoes, and brown rice, which are easily digested by dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  • Deboned salmon is featured as a single animal protein source.
  • Contains pumpkin to aid with healthy digestion.
  • Includes omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to improve coat and skin.
  • No chicken or beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or eggs. Also no artificial flavors or preservatives.
  • Made in the USA

Pros

  • Many owners report an end to tummy woes after switching to the food
  • Fiber-rich potatoes and pumpkin help firm up stools
  • Made with high-quality ingredients

Cons

  • A select few owners noted that the food did not entirely alleviate canine digestive upset
  • Some dogs refuse to eat LifeSource Bits

Ingredients List

Deboned Salmon, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Salmon Meal (source of Glucosamine), Peas...,

Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Canola Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Fish Oil (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Potassium Chloride, Pumpkin, Dried Chicory Root, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Flaxseed Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Lysine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Dried Yeast, Manganese Sulfate, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

7. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food

Best Specialty Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Highly digestible kibble designed by experts to promote healthy digestion in sensitive systems.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

About: Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Dog Food is formulated for easy digestion and complete, balanced nutrition. It contains a number of high-value additives, which will help ensure your pet’s stomach handles it without a problem.

Features

  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to help promote healthy digestive function.
  • Contains antioxidants that provide clinically proven health benefits.
  • Includes several vegetables and fruits to improve flavor and provide balanced nutrition.
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee – you can receive a full refund if you are not happy with the product.

Options: Available in a single recipe.

Pros

  • Most owners found the food alleviated sensitive stomach symptoms
  • The majority of dogs seem to enjoy the taste
  • Several pet parents report an improvement in skin issues, too, after switching to the food

Cons

  • Top ingredient isn’t an animal protein source
  • Contains some controversial ingredients like pea protein and soybean oil

Ingredients List

Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pea Protein...,

Pork Fat, Soybean Oil, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Flaxseed, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

8. Nutro Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Lamb & Sweet Potato

Best LID Dog Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet

A grain-free dry food made with with ten key ingredients or less, making it ideal for sensitive tummies.

Buy on Chewy Buy on Amazon

About: Nutro Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Lamb & Sweet Potato is a limited-ingredient diet designed to be easy on your pup’s digestive tract and minimize potential food sensitivities. Additionally, this bland dry dog food’s primary ingredients — lamb and sweet potato – are typically very easy for dogs to digest.

It also comes in a small and large breed variations, so you can choose based on your pooch’s size and unique needs.

Features

  • Deboned lamb and lamb meal are the first two ingredients, with lamb as the single-source animal protein.
  • Made in the USA with non-GMO ingredients
  • Doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, corn, soy, gluten, or grains
  • Includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and lentils as digestible proteins

Options: Available in 8 recipes, including Grain-Free Lamb, Grain-Free Salmon, and Grain-Free Venison Meal.

Pros

  • Limited ingredient list ideal for dogs with multiple food intolerances
  • Most owners report dogs seem to digest the food well
  • One of the few non-GMO dog foods available

Cons

  • Pricing is steep
  • Pickier pups may refuse to give the food a try

Ingredients List

Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Potatoes, Dried Sweet Potato...,

Lentils, Potato Starch, Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Potato Protein, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid (preservatives), Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Selenium Yeast, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

9. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula

Most Affordable Dog Food for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Grain-inclusive formula featuring nutrient-rich salmon alongside barley and rice.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

About: Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula is a nutritionally balanced and easily digested dog food that is made with real salmon, rice, and other ingredients that are unlikely to upset your dog’s stomach. It’s also a great budget option, as this dry dog food costs a fair bit less than some of the other stomach-friendly dog foods on this list.

Features

  • Salmon is featured as the number one ingredient.
  • Contains no corn, wheat, or soy to help ensure digestibility.
  • Made without any artificial dyes or flavors to avoid unnecessarily stressing your dog’s sensitive stomach or irritating sensitive skin.
  • Formulated to contain antioxidants, which will help to ensure proper immune function.

Options: Offered in 7 recipes and formulas, including Salmon & Rice, Turkey & Oat Meal, and Large Breed.

Pros

  • One of the most affordable dry foods for dogs with tummy trouble
  • Most dogs are big fans of the food
  • Several owners report this dog food helped ease sensitive skin irritation and stomach problems pups previously suffered from

Cons

  • Contains some subpar ingredient
  • Fishy smell is off-putting to some dogs and people

Ingredients List

Salmon, Barley, Ground Rice, Canola Meal, Oat Meal...,

Fish Meal (Source of Glucosamine), Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salmon Meal (Source of Glucosamine), Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil, Chicory Root Inulin, Salt, Fish Oil, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1)

Symptoms of a Sensitive Stomach

best dog food for sensitive stomachs

Dogs with sensitive stomachs typically exhibit a relatively similar set of symptoms. However, some dogs experience some symptoms more often than others, as each dog is an individual. Nevertheless, your dog may have a sensitive stomach if she displays any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting – While the occasional bout of vomiting is normal (dogs have an “eat first, barf later” mantra), repeated bouts of vomiting likely indicate that your dog either has a sensitive stomach or a serious health issue.
  • Diarrhea – Loose or runny stools are another symptom that occasionally plague all dogs, but repeated occurrences indicate the presence of a sensitive stomach or a more serious problem.
  • Gas If your dog engages in chemical warfare on a regular basis, she is likely suffering from a sensitive stomach (and let’s be honest, you both suffer from this symptom). Gas-x may help treat symptoms, but ideally, you’ll want to resolve your dog’s tummy issues at the source.

Switching Dog Food for a Sensitive Pup

dog food FAQ

It’s always wise to transition your dog from one dog food to another in a slow, gradual manner, but it is especially important to do so for dogs that do not digest well. Abruptly changing such a dog’s food is just begging for additional problems, so make sure to take it slow.

Most veterinarians recommend starting by giving your dog a bowl of food containing about 80% to 90% of their old food and 10% to 20% of their new dog food. Increase the percentage of new dog food to about 30% to 40% on the next day while reducing the quantity of the old dog food to about 60% to 70%.

Continue in this same manner until you are providing your dog with 100% of the new food – the whole process should take about 5 to 7 days.

Not all dogs will a sensitive stomach will suffer gastrointestinal upset from a new dog food, and it may even start to produce positive results very quickly. In such cases, it may make sense to accelerate the pace of the switch. You’ll just have to use your best judgment.

Characteristics of Good Dog Foods for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

best dog food for sensitive stomachs

Because dogs can suffer from a sensitive stomach for a variety of reasons, and different ingredients affect some dogs differently than others, it can be difficult to make many generalizations with regard to good foods for dogs that don’t digest food well.

However, there are a few things that tend to characterize most sensitive stomach dog foods that are easily digested, including:

  • The absence of grains (or easily-digestible grains) — Some dogs are able to digest corn, wheat, and other grains without issue, but dogs with sensitive stomachs may not be able to do so. Many owners have been choosing to opt for grain-free diets for this reason. However, new research has revealed that grain-free substitutions could have something to do with the increased number of DCM cases in dogs. While grain-free dog food may not be the best course considering this new evidence (we suggest talking it over with your vet if you’re concerned about your dog’s risk for DCM), at the very least, opt for easily-digestible whole grains that are good for dogs, such as brown rice, millet, and oats.
  • A limited number of ingredients – The more ingredients in a dog food, the higher the chances are that one of them will upset your dog’s digestive system, whether due to a food allergy or general intolerance. Accordingly, while your dog still needs to consume a variety of ingredients to obtain a nutritionally balanced diet, it is wise to limit the overall number and avoid unnecessary additives. Formulas marked limited-ingredient formulas or hypoallergenic dog foods are ideal, as they often used limited ingredients.
  • Comprised of dog foods that are easily digested – There are always exceptions, but most dogs digest chicken, lamb, brown rice, and potatoes relatively well, so these are often good ingredients to look for in a new dog food.
  • Contain ingredients and supplements that aid the digestive process – Some dog foods include dog-friendly probiotics or yogurt, which help keep your dog’s stomach churning properly. Others contain substances like pumpkin or high-fiber ingredients to help firm up your dog’s stools.
  • Bland composition. While many owners may seek out unique protein sources and a mix of several veggies and fruits for their dog’s kibble, the best gastrointestinal dog food tend to be quite bland compared to most formulas. Basic meats and rice are the most common ingredients in food designed for dogs with upset stomachs.
Pumpkin Puree: Something Every Owner Should Have on Hand

It’s always a great idea to have a can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) on hand to deal with doggo digestive issues.

Pumpkin is chock full ‘o fiber, making it a great ingredient for settling a dog’s stomach and firming up his stools.

   

No matter which dog food you decide upon for your sensitive dog, be sure to make the switch gradually. With a little patience, some experimentation, and lots of love, you’ll surely figure out the best way to keep your dog’s stomach full.

Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? What do you do to help ease his troubles? Have you found a great dog food that he manages to keep down and digest well? Was it one of our picks for the best dog foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

what is the worst dog food
Recommended For You

Dog Food Brands to Avoid: What Are the Worst Dog Food Brands?

Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the managing editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his beautiful wife, their Rottie, and their Pyr.

Dog

Join our pup pack!

Get tons of great dog training advice and tips about gear!

Mailbox

42 Comments

Leave a Comment

Name
Email Address
Comment
kristen beaumont

Thank you so much for this clear cut information!

Reply
Abbey

My dog has a protein intolerance and we have tried everything! We finally found Natural Balance limited ingredient Duck protein that has cleared up her diarrhea and she is able to tolerate. The only problem is, it’s grain free. It seems all specialty foods are grain free and it is strongly linked to DCM in dogs. I can’t seem to find another option besides the $100 bag of hydrolyzed protein food my vet wants to sell me. Any advice?

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Abbey. Sorry you’re having a tough time finding a good recipe for your pooch.
You may want to give Pure Vita Duck & Oatmeal a try.

Also, there is some evidence linking grain-free diets with DCM, but I wouldn’t say that they’re “strongly” linked. At least, not yet. It’s a complicated issue that researchers are still working to figure out. Be sure to check out our recent article on the topic for more info.
Best of luck!

Reply
Julie

can you please suggest a moist soft dog food for a daschund that is 16 years old and has lost most of his teeth. I have been giving him Casears and it is causing him to have diarrhea.

Reply
Maria

I just want to share my experience with Hills..it’s a scary story. My pup was suffering from some horrific diarrhea and regurgitation last fall, and our vet put him on Hills Prescription Diet for Sensitive Stomach & Skin, rice and egg — the same company that makes Science Diet. When I saw that it made a significant change in his digestive issues, I decided to just stay with it. I did notice a tremendous increase in thirst and urination, but ignorantly thought the food just had a lot of salt in it. I didn’t even think to mention it to the vet. I should have, and so should you, if you notice a change like this.

For the first two months, I coated the kibble with Hill’s small cans of wet food, Vegetables and Chicken Stew. Month 1, I used the regular formulation, and Month 2, I switched to the low-fat formulation since he’s can get rather chunky. Then the food became hard for the vet to get, I didn’t like the large can substitution, and my pup so loved the kibble, I just discontinued the wet food. He did gain some weight on this kibble, but nothing to cause real concern.

A full month after I discontinued the wet food, Hills recalled the regular formula version because of excessive vitamin D, which can cause kidney disease. Shortly before I got the recall alert, my pup started having the same gastro issues that got us on Hills in the first place, particularly runny diarrhea. I looked up the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity and freaked out. Excessive thirst and urination were high on the list, as was diarrhea. We immediately took him to the vet, paid extra to fast-process his blood work and urine+poop samples and the results were alarming. Compared to testing he had done last August, his numbers showed some serious concern for kidney disease.

My vet said there was one more test to do to rule out Hill’s liability, and wanted them to agree to pay for all this testing before we proceeded. She asked if I wanted to continue feeding the kibble since that wasn’t on recall. I said absolutely not…my pup had been eating only kibble for a month and still he was this sick? I think not. She recommended sticking with the rice and egg if I wanted to home-cook.

Hills dragged its feet debating whether or not to pay for the testing, so for the next month, my pup ate a chopped up concoction of whole eggs, rice, and pumpkin…the excessive thirst and urination resolved in under a week, and the diarrhea cleared up within a week.

By the time Hills agreed to pay for testing, his test showed him within normal parameters, but I have been terrified of feeding him commercial dog food ever since, so he’s still on my home cooking. He loves it, but I am concerned he’s not getting enough protein, and feeding more is not the answer–over eating does lead us back to digestive issues, but as long as he stays within 18-19 ounces a day, he’s doing really well. But he has lost weight and I’m concerned it’s muscle mass, so we’ll be seeing the vet next week and I’m looking for ways to supplement or replace my cooking.

I just wanted people to know about Hills as a company. In early January, they insisted that only the regular formula of canned food had too much vitamin D. Six weeks later, they admitted that the low fat had too much as well. They are still insisting that the kibble is not affected, but there is the fact that my pup’s symptoms reversed as soon as he got off the kibble, and after a month, testing showed no permanent damage to his kidneys. Draw your own conclusions, but my trust is shattered.

Depending on what my vet says, I may try the Nutro or even Ollie…it may be pricey, but I spend a lot of time making dog food, and time is money! Thanks so much for this website.

Reply
mary garrett

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am now trying Hills but looking for something else

Reply
Beth kupihea

First of all thank you so much for taking the time to research these dog foods and get your findings out there. Please help. I am very confused. I have done a lot of research and go back and forth with what some articles say regarding a balanced diet and too much protein not enough protein etc, for a dog that’s getting older, mine is 9 1/2 years old,. I myself am a registered nurse and I think there was a myth about the fact that dog should have that much protein as in some of these grain-free diets because I think it’s very hard on the kidneys and especially looking at some of my patients with kidney failure that cannot handle these high protein diets for sure. I’m looking for a happy medium. I want a protein food that is 22% or under but no more than about 10% fat because my dog cannot handle rich food meat or bone broth with any fat in it or beef it gives her the runs. She is not a wolf she’s a domesticated Labrador and she does need some grain and fiber. But it seems that some of these super high fibers like 15 16% and maybe even the one she’s on now which is Nutro which is 11.5% might be too high for her but I’m not sure. She’s pooping up a storm several times a day and I believe she has had enough stress to cause irritable bowel syndrome which I don’t want to go into irritable bowel disease. Because then they don’t absorb the nutrients which can cause other medical problems. So I’m looking for a food with limited ingredients and allergens that has enough protein not too much fat and ingredients for sensitive stomach that would not irritate her. Sometimes her stools are fine and other times more frequently know she’s having loose stools and diarrhea with gas. She is currently on Nutro Essentials 4 weight maintenance. Which of the five or seven foods that you listed would be the best for her?

Reply
Krystn

I feed raw for my dog’s sensitive stomach. I was feeding a high quality, high protein kibble and adding digestive aids like pre and probiotics, but it turns out that all the carbs and prebiotics were contributing to my dog’s digestive issues. I was feeding the harmful bacteria and making him worse. Not only did he show signs of digestive problems, but what we thought was food allergies was really just another symptom of poor digestion. After we switched to a raw diet, his symptoms started to go away within a few weeks. Four months in, he is now doing great and is symptom-free. Plus he absolutely loves the raw food! He poops less, his skin and coat are better, and even his dental health has improved.
I know raw diets might not be right for everyone, but I highly recommend incorporating some fresh foods into your pet’s diet.

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Krystn. Glad you found something that worked for your pup.

You’re right — raw diets are certainly not a good idea for everyone, but as long as your vet is on board and you make sure to properly balance the diet, they can work. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

Balancing a homemade diet is exceedingly complicated, and it’s not something most owners are in a position to do effectively. For example, most owners don’t have a strong grasp of the amino acids or minerals their pup needs. And because nutritional deficiencies often take a very long time to manifest physically, it’s easy to get yourself into trouble by feeding a homemade diet.

It’s also important that you use extreme care while handling raw meats — they can not only sicken your dog, but you as well.

But as long as your vet gives you the green light and your pooch remains healthy, that’s all that matters.

Keep us updated and thanks for reading!

Reply
Mary Layton

Thanks for the information, pros and cons. Have looked up so many articles which I was more confused after reading them… Info was simple yet helped me and my baby, Lilly!!

Reply
Ben Team

Glad we could help, Mary!

Reply
Starla

For a while I was making my dogs food and they loved it. I then got super busy with buying a home and moving and getting settled (and I have health issues to deal with) so I fed them VitaFresh and/or FreshPet. I was trying to switch them back to kibble just in the last week and my little schnorkie got sick. Pancreatitis was suspected but tests were good so we think it’s just sensitive stomach. I am really considering making the food again if it won’t break the bank. The recipe and additional supplement are highly recommended and it’s all human grade. The creator of it has said if he wouldn’t eat it, he wont feed it to his dogs either. You can find the recipe and info about the supplement and food (and other products) on the website http://www.augustineapproved.com.au
The supplement (super boost) can be purchased in the states from dogsnaturallymagazine.com

Reply
Meg Marrs

I’d be hesitant to try this. This seems to be a brand created by an individual with no veterinarian background or even consultation with a vet. It might be fine, but you should always be consulting your vet about your dog’s diet, especially when dealing with homemade dog food (as well as non-AAFO certified food).

Reply
Teresa

I have a cavalier king charles x collie puppy that’s got a sensitive tummy flatulence and cowpacks was debating on putting him on royal cannine medium dog junior for sensitive tummys any feed back is most welcome

Reply
Michael

Please review/check into Diamond dog food for sensitive stomachs. I have tried a lot of different sensitive stomach for my male Keeshond – this one worked best. He used to vomit water, have excessive flatulence, a lot of stool but this has done wonders.

Reply
Meg Marrs

Thanks for the info Michael, always good to hear when a food works well for a dog.

Reply
Denise

I have an 11lb. Jack Russell. She is 12. Gastrointestinal sensitivity and pancreatitis.
I have tried everything. The only thing she is able to eat and keep her attacks in control is Food I make.
Large crockpot:
2 cups brown rice
8 cups water
Peas
Carrot
Pumpkin or squash
Package of liver cubes
1/4 cup coconut oil

Cook on high for 4 hours.
I measure put 2 cups in morning and divide it in 3rds. She is feed 3 smaller meals a day.
If she eats anything besides this she will be very sick. Even a popcorn that falls on the floor.
If she belches or seems to have reflux, she gets 1/4 tsp. Of Mylanta. It really settles her stomach.
Hope this helps someone.

Reply
Angela

It helps me as my Jack Russell has stomach issues too. Thank you so much!

Reply
Amy

Thanks for this. Didn’t know mylanta worked on pups.

Reply
mary garrett

Thank you !! I just printed this

Reply
Joni Perlette

I would eliminate the vegetables, cook the rice very well. Try just rice for a few days, then add egg. If that goes ok for a few days more, gradually get him back on a regular diet.

Reply
Frances Lippert

My dog has a sensitivity to protein right now I have him on a diet of rice mixed vegetables and egg then I prepare for him everyday I still cannot stop the diarrhea

Reply
Denise

I have chickens so I did egg whites for a while. Didn’t help settle stomach or diarrhea. I switched to liver. She is doing much better now.

Reply
Micki

I was a tried and true “Blue” fan. My pup (well she is 8 yrs old now) developed a sensitive stomach and was throwing up, coughing and having intense throat pain from all the acid. She had developed acid reflux which continued to increase in intensity.

I switched to “Blue Basics” because I was so comfortable with “Blue Buffalo”dog food. No sooner than I had done so, I learned that it contained LEAD in the food. Horrors!

I now feed Royal Canin Gastrointestinal (although I’m not thrilled with the ingredients) and administer liquid Zantac twice daily. She is no longer throwing up, she is thriving on this food and for sure, no more acid reflux.

I don’t think there is any dog food completely correct. You would have to make the food. I do make the little doggy treats (hard crunchy biscuits) and know my girls are eating well.

Reply
Micki

I was a tried and true “Blue” fan. My pup (well she is 8 yrs old now) developed a sensitive stomach and was throwing up, coughing and having intense throat pain from all the acid. She had developed acid reflux which continued to increase in intensity.

I switched to “Blue Basics” because I was so comfortable with “Blue Buffalo”dog food. No sooner than I had done so, I learned that it contained LEAD in the food. Horrors!

I now feed Royal Canin Gastrointestinal (although I’m not thrilled with the ingredients) and administer liquid Zantac twice daily. She is no longer throwing up, she is thriving on this food and for sure, no more acid reflux.

I don’t think there is any dog food completely correct. You would have to make the food. I do make the little doggy treats (hard crunchy biscuits) and know my girls are eating well.

Reply
Lynn

Thank you!!

Reply
Lynn

Please help. I have been researching dog food since my vet switched my pupps to script dog food for sensitive stomachs. We were using the script Royal Canin for Gastrointestinal problems, but after I read the ingredient list I took them off of it (had chicken by product). I switched to Merrick limited ingredient grain free food, which was fine, but then Merrick changed the formula and my dogs don’t seem to like it. I’m wondering if I should try Nutro grain free limited ingredient or Simply Nourish next. My dilema is that SN doesn’t have a grain free limited ingredient formula in lamb protein. I wanted to try Blue Basics but was concerned about caramel flavoring in it. Can you advise what you recommend?

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Lynn. Sorry to hear about your pup’s sensitive stomach.

You probably aren’t going to like my advice. I’d suggest you go back to the Royal Canin, if that’s what your vet recommended.

I wouldn’t worry about chicken by-products at all. By-products may not sound very appetizing to us, but as long as they’re properly identified (i.e. “chicken” by-products, rather than vague things like “meat by-products”) they’re likely fine for your pooch.

I’m pretty picky about ingredient lists, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use a food that contained chicken by-products.

Good luck!

Reply
Ida Marie

Does audible bowel sounds get included with sensitive stomachs? I use Royal Canin wet and dry for sensitive stomachs. I also give Pepcid 10 mg per day per Vet.
Also how about Purina Fortiflora?
Thank you.

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Ida. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may very well produce more bowel sounds than other dogs. I wouldn’t worry about it if your vet has already noted the sounds and found them acceptable.
As for Fortiflora, we discuss it in detail in our article about probiotics for dogs — go check it out!

Reply
Micki

I switched to Blue Basics because my dog has a sensitive stomach. Then I heard it contained “lead”. Horrors! I surely did not want to chance it so I switched to Royal Canin which does require a prescription from your Vet. No problem. My dog is doing very well on it. No more diarrhea or vomiting. Hooray.
It is pricey but buying it on-line from Chewie.com or Amazon.com keeps the price down.

Reply
Terri

Please just tell me your recommendation for a dog with a sensitive stomach, one which would help anxiety would help too! I am tired of looking all over the internet!

Reply
Micki

Terri,
As I previously posted, switching to Royal Canin, gastrointestinal formula, is the right solution, the only solution. It requires a prescription from your Vet, and can be purchased at Pet Smart and on -line. Save yourself all the stress, just get it. Your dog will be happy and so will you.

Reply
Bonnie

I have a chihuahua that suffers with anxiety Bach’s Rescue Remedy was recommended to me years ago for another pup and it works wonderful , all natural , I put a drop on my fingertip and rub it on the tip of each ear ..you can put it in their water also , safe for humans too, not expensive about $12 and a bottle lasts forever, works if afraid of thunderstorms , mine is or was ..doesn’t hurt to check into it , been using it for about 6 years

Reply
mary garrett

My vet has me trying Hills prescription diet. VERY expensive. I’m now looking for something else and doing a process of elimination.
Good luck
Mary

Reply
Micki Parris

All well and good about “Blue Basics”. My one dog suffers from a sensitive stomach so I switched from a different Blue food to the Blue Basics and shortly after I learned that the Blue Basics might (does?) have “LEAD” in it. WHAT? Never would I think that there could be lead in food consumed by man or his dog! I immediately discontinued feeding my dog this food. I was not willing to take a chance.
I am now feeding Royal Canin which requires a prescription from the Vet and my dog seems to be tolerating it just fine. Expensive, yes, but I surely feel more comfortable that I am feeding good, safe food.

Reply
patricia hepburn

you can buy Royal Canin through Amazon. If you are a Prime member shipping is free.

Reply
Jeanie Prichard

Just switched to the nutro limited lamb small bites. Seemed to be doing the trick. Both my dogs love it and the vomiting has stopped. We had been using and brand of lamb and brown rice for about a year. The last couple of months have seen both my mitts getting sick. Wondered if the other brand changed the formula. Nutro May be a little more expensive but well worth it to save the clean up and misery of myself and my pups. Thanks for the recommendation

Reply
Nushi Bischof

Thank you for this information. It is extremely helpful!. I was buying the Kirkland brand from Costco, but they seem to be having difficulty stocking it, so I searched for best dog foods and your website came up. I have a whippet named Jax and he thanks you for providing Mom with good info to keep him healthy! 🙂

Reply
Linda Iverson

What is the most palatable food for sensitive stomach-won’t touch purinas high fiber formula

Reply
Dedra Gray

Hi, my name is Dedra. I have a Boston Terrier with sensitive stomach issues, so I found a dog food by Blue Buffalo turkey and potato for small breeds. I just read there is a class action suit in California against three brands of Blue Buffalo with high levels of lead in them causing health problems with some dogs who eat them. Have u heard about this lawsuit? The turkey and potato formula for small breeds wasn’t listed.

Reply
mary garrett

For me, there are too many recalls for Blue. I stay away from it. Just my opinion though.
My Yorkie Maddie needs easy to digest food too

Reply

Also Worth Your Time